Updates to our Terms of Use

We are updating our Terms of Use. Please carefully review the updated Terms before proceeding to our website.

Wednesday, July 24, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

2 California men arrested for assaulting law enforcement during Capitol breach

Charging documents say the men used a crutch, a metal pole and spray as weapons against the officers.

(CN) — Two men from Southern California were arrested and charged with federal offenses related to their alleged assault of law enforcement during the breach of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

Both men made their first court appearance Thursday in the U.S. Central District of California, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, which is prosecuting the case with the counterterrorism section of the Justice Department’s National Security Division.  

According to charging documents, David Dempsey of Van Nuys is charged with use of a deadly weapon, obstruction of an official proceeding and civil disorder, along with assaulting, resisting or impeding certain officers. The documents include photos and video link, which prosecutors say show Dempsey clad in a dark helmet, goggles and an American flag gaiter mask wielding a crutch and a metal pole. The U.S. attorney’s statement said the images and video show Dempsey using the objects as “bludgeoning weapons or projectiles” against the officers protecting the Capitol’s west terrace.

The charging documents also say that witnesses Dempsey knew from school identified him to the Federal Bureau of Investigation as the #FlagGaiterCopHater. The hashtag arose on social media with photos and videos depicting a man present during the chaos at the Capitol on Jan. 6. Dempsey was previously arrested for allegedly spraying anti-Trump protesters with bear spray on the Santa Monica pier, according to the charging documents. NBC News reported a video of the incident.

The other man, Jeffrey Brown of Santa Ana, is charged with inflicting bodily injury on officers, obstructing law enforcement during a civil disorder and engaging in physical violence in a restricted building or grounds. The documents charging Brown say review of photos and video footage show Brown pushing against officers and pointing and deploying a spray can in the direction of the law enforcement barricade.

The arrests of Dempsey and Brown are the latest in a stream of criminal and civil actions against those allegedly involved in the riot. Today, Capitol Police officers filed a lawsuit against Trump and multiple extremist groups, including the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers, for inciting the events of Jan. 6.

In the last two weeks, a Texas woman pleaded guilty to a low-level misdemeanor charge for entering the Capitol that day. Further, a widow of a D.C. Metropolitan police officer who died by suicide after Jan. 6 is suing a pair of Capitol rioters in federal court.

Courthouse News reached out to the Department of Justice and the offices of the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia and the Central District of California. None immediately returned a request for comment.

Categories / Criminal, Government, National

Subscribe to Closing Arguments

Sign up for new weekly newsletter Closing Arguments to get the latest about ongoing trials, major litigation and hot cases and rulings in courthouses around the U.S. and the world.